Judoka Latchoumanaya hopes to be France’s latest Paralympic medallist
Date: March 16, 2020
By Victoria Donu and IBSA
France’s European silver medallist Helios Latchoumanaya is hoping to secure his Paralympic debut at upcoming International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Judo Grand Prix as the clock ticks down to Tokyo 2020.
The judoka from Tarbes in southern France is currently preparing for competitions in Nottingham, Great Britain, from 11-12 April and Baku, Azerbaijan, from 11-12 May.
But Latchoumanaya does not just want the chance to compete at the Paralympics – he is also targeting a much bigger prize in the men’s up to 90kg:
“I need to push myself even more. Be focused on my practice. Need to be relaxed and not very stressed. To do what I know to the best of my ability. I do my judo and I think I can win the gold. If I’m focused and motivated, I can get the gold. For aspiring judokas, I would tell me to follow their dreams, to follow their objective and goal.
The Frenchman’s dreams are not unrealistic, and his competition record shows it. He made his international debut in 2017 where he claimed silver at the European Championships. A series of podiums followed in 2018 and 2019, including his latest regional silver.
But for Latchoumanaya to achieve his goal, he will have to get past Ukraine’s world and European champion Oleksandr Nazarenko, an athlete who he considers to be a main threat.
Training is a crucial element of the road to success, as well as the coaches the athletes surround themselves with.
“Preparation includes two hours of judo training per day from Monday to Friday, afterwards physical training (run, muscles etc.) then one-hour training dedicated to the technical part.
For each training, I have different coach. Before actual competition, we do less trainings since I need to be fit and fresh to perform well.
"My trainers motivate me to strive for the best however the result depends only on me. They are just here to help, train and advise but my performance will depend solely on me. I currently train on some techniques that still needs improvement. My coaches are not strict but rather supportive.”
The effort and hard work are concentrated to bring the best results if he qualifies for Tokyo 2020.
“Both results and performance are equally important for me, but I put an emphasis on the results. My goal is the podium. I will be disappointed if it’s not the podium. If not, I want to be in top 10 at least.”